The sun came up chased by dogs Across a field of snow. As they passed the pile of broken logs Frost fluttered in the air Between the birch trees Standing in that spot exactly Where the ridge becomes a hill. In another thousand years Sky and woods and land Will have come to be there, still. And still pursued all day, a winter fox Too smart for dogs, The sun goes in animal delight Over the farthest edge of earth Not far ahead of night And jumps into the dark pool With a last great splash of light.
(Happy Birthday to Ryan Seacrest, 40-years old, today)
It was on this day100 hundred years ago that the last known "Christmas Truce"occurred along the Western Front during World War I. In the week leading up to Christmas, soldiers all over the battlefields had been decorating their trenches with candles and makeshift trimmings when groups of German and British soldiers began shouting seasonal greetings and singing songs to each other. On occasion, a soldier or two would even cross the battlefield to take gifts to the enemy. Then, on Christmas Eve, the men of the Western Front put the war on hold and many soldiers from both sides left their trenches to meet in No Man’s Land, where they mingled and exchanged tobacco, chocolate, and sometimes even the buttons from their own uniforms as souvenirs. They played games of football, sang carols, and buried fallen comrades together as the unofficial truce lasted through the night.
It was on this dayin 1871 thatGiuseppe Verdi’s opera "Aida" had its debut at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo. The opera was commissioned by Ismail Pasha, the khedive of Egypt. Pasha had been educated in Paris, and he dreamed that with the construction of the Suez Canal, Cairo would be the new Paris. Pasha planned elaborate festivities to celebrate the canal’s opening, and he wrote to ask Verdi if the great composer would write a piece of music to celebrate. Verdi answered: “I regret that I must decline this honor [...] it is not my custom to compose occasional pieces.” Pasha accepted that, but he did not give up on Verdi. The Egyptian leader built a beautiful and luxurious opera house, which opened with the Suez Canal in November of 1869; its first opera was Verdi’s Rigoletto. The next spring, Pasha offered Verdi 150,000 francs, a huge sum of money, to write an Egyptian-themed opera.
A French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, wrote the story: an Ethiopian princess, Aida, is enslaved in Egypt. She loves Radames, a commander of the Pharaoh’s army, who loves her back. Aida is torn between her love of Radames and loyalty to her father, King of Ethiopia and the Pharaoh’s enemy. Verdi was impressed by the story. He wrote in a letter: “It offers a splendid mise-en-scène, and there are two or three situations which, if not very new, are certainly very beautiful.” The librettist was Antonio Ghislanzoni, and Verdi composed the opera quickly as he received pieces of the libretto. In September of 1871, the director of the Cairo Opera House met Verdi to receive a handwritten copy of the opera. Verdi refused to attend the opening because he got seasick easily and hated traveling by ship.
The opera was quite a spectacle, with dramatic sets, costumes, choruses, and dances. The Pyramids of Giza and the Temple of Karnak were prominently featured. The first, sold-out performance was a huge success. Ismail Pasha was overjoyed, and after the curtain went down the performers were given round after round of applause, as was Pasha. The opera played 12 times that season in Egypt, and opened in Italy a few months later — this time Verdi was in the audience. The performers received 32 curtain calls.
The signature feature is the Rolls Royce Wraith’s Starlight Headliner, consisting of 1,340 LEDs hand-sewn to create an effect of owning one’s personal night sky filled with stars...
Warning, content below represents a man's libidinous fascination with an automobile. It is not Lolita; after all Bradley Berman, the author, is not Nabokov and the Wraith is not underaged. Nonetheless, I find myself simultaneously repulsed... and seduced. - David J. Katz
Nine years and 19 million YouTube views later, Steve Jobs's commencement address to Stanford University's graduating class of 2005 has achieved iconic status.Jobs, the Apple visionary who died in 2011 at age 56, delivered a speech that resonated far beyond the Stanford audience, with a masterful mix of personal anecdotes, sparks of insight and universally applicable pieces of wisdom. Each year, especially around graduation season, people discover and rediscover Jobs's speech and its messages for those who seek meaning and purpose in life and at work. - Carolyn GregoireNote that Steve Jobs originally asked Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to write this speech: Sorkin was not available. - DJKFull text of Steve Jobs' commencement address to Stanford University 2005 "I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college gradu…